Gary James ’10 – Around noontime Thursday, Wabash College became an official stop on Andy Davis ’00 and Melissa Henige’s 2500 miles sustainability tour from Bloomington to San Francisco. With their bikes and nearly 200 pounds of equipment on the trailers they were pulling behind them, the couple from Bloomington decided to stop at Lilly Library at Andy’s alma mater.
Andy, a religion major from Bloomington who graduated in 2000, and his fiancée Melissa, originally from Chesaning, Michigan, are on a 100-day journey to make a film about efforts to create a culture of sustainability across the country.
In addition to some necessities, Melissa and Andy are also carrying video equipment to document their travels and the sustainable living choices made by businesses, organizations, communities, and individuals they meet along the way. They will create regular episodes about their travels, which will be posted on their website – changinggearsmovie.com – and they also plan to create a documentary about the experience. Their bike route encompasses Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, Yellowstone Park, Boise, and Portland.
The journey began Tuesday, but Andy and Melissa have been delayed for past few days by threatening weather. They’ve visited DePauw in Greencastle to have sustainability conversations with school organizers there. They have also interviewed the Moody family of Moody Farms in Waveland. Andy and Melissa said they were excited by Moody Farms’ leadership as an example of sustainable growth that is good for the environment as well as the local economy.
“I want to motivate and inspire myself and others at looking at sustainable practices,” Melissa said. “We have a long way to go as a society, cities, businesses, and organizations. We really need to push the envelope here. We’re trying to see what is going on and how to address all sort of economic, environmental, and ecological questions in our communities. We want to take what we’ve learned, and do something in Bloomington, or wherever we end up, to take action.”
Andy was also very concerned about the application side of their efforts.
In the weeks before their journey, Andy and Melissa sold their cars and quit their jobs covering city government for Community Access Television Services (CATS), where they first met. And until Mid-August, they will be relying on the generosity and hospitality of their fellow Americans and Mother Nature. They have already slept on a porch and have been fed by strangers. The ecologically-conscious couple plans to camp through the Mid- and Mountain West all the way to the Pacific Coast, where they will most likely return by train.